Bloody Mary.... what have you got?
I am currently writing a book about the Bloody Mary. I am including about 100 recipes (variations) from around the world. I'm looking for some really creative ones. If anyone has a truly novel recipe, I'll include it in my book and give you a credit for the recipe.
I'm sure in your research you've run across these tips, but since I love Bloodies, I'll offer them anyway.
I quite like the "alternative" Bloodies using spirits other than vodka: I've had good luck with blanco tequilas, pisco, and cachaca.
One big difference I have noted in the States hinges on the brand of tomato juice: I now use Sacramento canned tomato juice exclusively for Bloodies: it has no preservatives and isn't oversalted, yielding a notably fresh tomato taste that the usual supermarket brands don't have. It goes without saying that fresh-squeezed lemon juice is an essential component.
I have dabbled with many savory sauces and hot sauces. My favorite results come back to the classics: Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco chili pepper sauce, though I have enjoyed Bloodies seasoned with various bottled steak sauces, countless red-chili pepper sauces, and fiery condiments like the mustardy, Carribean-leaning Inner Beauty (a creation of Boston's own East Coast Grill), which derives its blazing heat from Scotch bonnet peppers.
I have tried Bloody variants that include some amount of V-8, a popular vegetable juice cocktail here that is mostly tomato based (seven other vegetable juices add up to the 8), but I have pretty much abandoned it in favor of pure tomato-juice recipes for Bloodies. I'm an oddity in my family in that I despise Clamato in Bloodies, despite loving clams otherwise.
I'm also a vigorous opponent of horseradish in Bloodies, which I think makes the drink taste too much like the cocktail sauce frequently served here with cold boiled prawns ("shrimp cocktail"), but I'm in a distinct minority on this score. Americans seem to love prepared (pickled) horseradish in their Bloodies.
The addition of a dash of dill pickle or olive brine can be very nice. I've also added things like a bit of minced raw garlic, minced green olives, minced peeled cucumber, and minced tiny bean sprouts, anything from the vegetable patch to add a little body and texture and fresh vegetal flavor.
I often include a big stalk of leafy celery, a wedge each of lemon and lime, a lot of coarsely-cracked butcher pepper, and some kind of coarse salt (kosher or sea). A boiled shrimp, pickled green tomato ("tomolive"), small fresh pepper (sweet or hot), or quality oversized olive makes a nice garnish.
This is one drink that is not improved by being served up in a cocktail glass; it looks odd and unappetizing, I think. I tend to favor stout double-rocks glasses: tall slender highball glasses won't easily accommodate a lot of ice and vegetables and garnishes.
Despite all these suggestions, come Sunday morning, I'm most likely to make my Bloody pretty simple: tomato juice, fresh lemon juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco, salt, pepper, vodka, a celery stalk, a lemon wedge. There's something that feels both civilized and decadent about the occasional weekend eye-opener taken before noon.
re: MC Slim JB
Been away for a week or so doing a bit of cocktail entertainment!! Anyway.... just back and seen your responses. Thanks so much for all of this. Love the idea of using steak sauce... don't really have much of that over here so should be an interesting additional flavour for us UK boys. In response to the Caesar and V8 variants. They are already both popular drinks over here and although I will be including them in my book, they are more than likely going to appear in the section covering traditional Mary recipes.
there is deffinitely a trend towards 'vegetal' Marys (to use your phrase), over here. Lots of mixologists using fresh herbs like basil, oregano, dill, etc. I have come across tomolives before but they are difficult to source in the UK.
I have to agree with you however, that come sunday morn, I also love a very simple classic bloody with lots of citrus and celery salt.
Once again, thanks so much for you input. The more people I communicate with on this subject, the more I realise how globally popular the Bloody is.
I see that you are from the UK, and I'm not sure if you make Caesars there. In Canada we make Bloody Marys, but Caesars seem to be the drink of choice.
If you are not familiar, here is a basic recipe
-rim the glass with celery salt
-fill the glass with ice
-add a few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, a couple dashes of Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste
-fill with clamato juice
-garnish can include lemon and/or lime wedge, a stalk of celery, a piece of shrimp....
Now of course there are a number of variations on this too....I like to add horseradish and pickle juice to mine!!! Yummy!
Great Bay, a seafood restaurant in Boston's Hotel Commonwealth (whose food I don't much like) serves an interesting, nearly colorless, up variant of a Bloody Mary called the Ghost of Mary: spicy tomato water, Ketel One Citroen, a garnish of tomolives and a Sweet 100 cherry tomato. I imagine they'd share the recipe in return for a plug: www.gbayrestaurant.com
It has also been served at Manhattan restaurant Prune; not sure who deserves credit for inventing it.